I Never Wanted Us To Become Strangers

Ross Van Der Wal

When I think back to where we were and where we are now it hurts sometimes.

You were the conversations every day. The company I always enjoyed. The welcome guest who didn’t even have to tell me you were coming. You were the door that was always open and the company at two am. You were the shots I took smiling as you paid for the tab and the drunk confessions where even without saying too much we both knew something was there. You were the person I always looked at with such admiration. Someone who helped me and pushed me and believed in me in moments where I didn’t believe in myself.

You were the whisper in my ear of things that made me smile like they were secrets all our own. A kiss on the cheek before we parted ways. The lunch dates where I’d look at you across the table with a bit of a smirk wondering. You were the notifications no matter what I posted. I didn’t know a like could mean so much but it did when it was your name.

You were this emotional connection I couldn’t explain.

Then somewhere along the way, we lost each other a bit.

We became the friendly nods and casual conversation when we’d see each other out. Asking how the family was and remind them you said hello. You were the name that always made my head turn in the crowd if someone said it, hoping maybe I’d see you there. But seeing you anywhere always hurt a little bit because I remember a time when it was me standing next to you.

I never wanted us to become strangers because you took the time to learn me. And it wasn’t just learning me it was a history we had together seared in my memory not to be forgotten. You can’t just ignore something like that or pretend it didn’t happen.

My friends stopped bringing you up in conversation or telling me when they saw you out. The truth is I didn’t want to know who you were with and if it was her. They’d look at me and my face would drop and expression would change and I’d say something like I just don’t understand.

There really was no understanding of why things played out the way they did. I didn’t want you to be some lesson I had to learn the hard way. Another name on some list of people who did me wrong.

You were different. I still look at you when we cross paths with the same respect and admiration. Because when I really needed someone you were there. I still think of you and my hearts flutters a bit. In the moments your name will casually appear on my on phone I smile at like and reply to a text quickly.

I realized how much we both have changed.

But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I changed for the better because I knew you. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t happy to have you in my life even if I couldn’t keep you. I never wanted us to become strangers but maybe we had to.

But of the things I know that are true is we might lead different lives and have parted ways but I’ll always look forward to the next hello. TC mark

Kirsten Corley

Kirsten is the author of But Before You Leave, a book of poetry about the experiences we struggle to put into words.

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